Sweden is seen as a forerunner in environmental and ecological policy. This book is about policies and strategies for ecologically rational governance, and uses the Swedish case study to ask whether or not it is possible to move from a traditional environmental policy to a broad, integrated pursuit of sustainable development, as illustrated through the ‘Sustainable Sweden’ programme. It begins by looking at the spatial dimensions of ecological governance, and goes on to consider the integration and effectiveness of sustainable development policies. The book analyses the tension between democracy and sustainable development, which has a broader relevance beyond the Swedish model, to other nation states as well as the European Union as a whole. It offers the latest word in advanced implementation of sustainable development.
governance – particularly if it involves corporativist streaks – and
traditionalenvironmentalpolicy are mutually enhancing (Jänicke
1997:12 f.; Crepaz 1995; Jahn 1998). Others argue that democracies seem to have severe difficulties in adopting integrated and
effective policies of sustainable resource management (Eckerberg
and Lafferty 1997; O’Riordan and Voisey 1997). Liberal democracy with its piecemeal style of policy-making may prove
insufficient for achieving sustainability (Hayward 1996:232). The
sheer comprehensiveness of public policies needed to steer
highest political bodies, i.e., the Municipal
Council or the Council’s Board of Directors. Around 70 per cent
of the adopted action plans were furthermore co-ordinated and
implemented by either the Board of Directors or a specially
appointed LA 21 Committee or Delegation. Only 12 per cent
were under the ægis of the Environmental and Health Protection
Committees. This implies that most municipalities viewed
sustainable development as involving a broader resource management perspective than that of traditionalenvironmentalpolicy
(Brundin and Eckerberg 1999).
The Swedish process of reorienting traditionalenvironmentalpolicy towards one of sustainable development began in the mid
1990s. In the spring 1997 Budget Bill, the Cabinet proposed a
broad strategy for sustainable development, to be based on three
overarching objectives; protection of environmental quality, efficient use of resources, and sustainable ecosystem productivity
(Cabinet Bill 1996/97:150). An earlier report of the National
Agenda 21 Committee had pointed to the incoherence among the
numerous ‘goal like’ expressions in official
Environment and Health Board (Eckerberg et al.
1997:56 ff.; Eckerberg 1999:16 f.).
This political treatment of the issue and the allocation of coordinating responsibilities can be seen as an indication that
Agenda 21 was perceived as extending beyond traditionalenvironmentalpolicy to involve all aspects of sustainable
development. One close observer of the Swedish LA 21 process
argues that there is tendency to emphasise the ecological over
other aspects, both at the local level and in national programmes.
Agenda 21 is largely perceived as a renewal and expansion of